Bhopal: Even after 64 years of independence, the nation is still lagging behind in child health care. Although the child mortality rate in Madhya Pradesh has registered a decline of five points by saving 9,000 lives in 2010-11, the rate is still higher than the other neighbouring states.
The child mortality rate in the state is 62 per thousand which is far higher than that in Uttar Pradesh (61), Bihar (48) and even Chhattisgarh (51).

According to the Central Sample Registration System (CSRS) report, the child mortality rate has shown a marginal improvement of 5 points from 67/1000 in 2009-10 to 62/1000 in 2010-11. However, the national ratio has improved from 50/1000 last year to 47 /1000 this year.

According to experts, the child mortality rate was 90 per thousand in 1999 which fell to 79 in 2004 with an improvement of 11 points. Similarly, a 14-point improvement was recorded from 2005 to 2010.
The public health department aims to achieve the child mortality ratio of 60 per thousand by 2012. For this, infant intensive health units have to be established. However, such units have been opened at only 33 district health centres in the state by now; while the task is yet to be completed in the rest of the districts.

The government is planning to set up such units in seven more districts by March next year. Moreover, 4-bed intensive care units are to be established in selective civil hospitals and public health centres for the treatment of sick infants.

Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh has also registered a 5-point improvement in its child mortality rate at 40 per thousand. Relatively high mortality rate observed in Meghalaya and Assam at 55 and 58 respectively is also a matter of concern.